Our wines are influenced by the nearby Pacific.
Directly off the coast of Monterey is an underwater gorge more vast
than Arizona’s Grand Canyon, a rift dubbed "The Blue Grand Canyon."
These are cold waters, nourished by ocean currents that sweep down out of the Gulf of Alaska. Average temperature year-round hovers near 50 degrees. As is the case all along the California coast, the prevailing winds are from the west/northwest, meaning chilly, moisture-laden maritime air is funneled inland from the sea. No mountains hinder the flow of air from Monterey Bay to the Carmel Road vineyards, and the maritime influence shows itself most dramatically in the form of brisk winds.
In the early to mid-afternoon, the coastal breeze starts to blow. By late afternoon, the temperature can drop by 15 degrees, and the wind can be so fierce it hinders photosynthesis. Come nighttime, temperatures fall to the 50s and the wind still howls. But by dawn, all is still. The wind is calm, the vineyards shrouded in fog and low clouds obscure the mountains. Then, by late morning, the ancient cycle begins again. Grapes develop beautiful complexity in this coastal weather. The heat of the day ripens them, while the chill of night refreshes them, and preserves the natural fruit acidity that wine needs for balance.
Soils are almost as important in establishing wine quality. While Monterey’s soils are as diverse as those of the rest of the California coast, thanks to the San Andreas Fault System whose earthquakes over the millennia have shaken everything up, the prime requirement of great wine grape soils is that they be well-drained. An old saying claims, grapevines don’t like “to get their feet wet.” The best Monterey vineyards sit on well-drained soils, either because they’re on mountainsides, or because the soils are constituted of deep, porous sands and gravels through which rainfall drains out to the water table below. This promotes more flavor and textural intensity in the fruit.